Graduate School
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Dr Sidney Berman

Home country: Botswana

PANGeA partner: University of Botswana

Year of enrolment: 2011

Graduation date: April 2014

Department:  Ancient Studies

Supervisor: Prof CHJ van der merwe

Co-Supervisor: Prof ER Wendland

Dissertation title: Analysing the frames of a bible: The case of the Setswana translations of the book of Ruth

​Abstract: This study investigates how the contextual frames of reference (CFRs) of the three extant Setswana Bibles – Moffat, Wookey and BSSA (Bible Society of South Africa) – could have impacted on their renderings of the book of Ruth. The fact that the Bibles were translated within contexts that differed from those of the Hebrew text of Ruth gives rise to the assumption that some of such contexts or frames could have had problematic influences on decision making during translation. Differing frames were assumed to have led to differences (i.e., translation shifts) between the translations and the Hebrew text. Such frames were hypothesised to have emanated from socio-cultural, textual, communication-situational and organisational circumstances pertaining to the making of the Hebrew text and the translations. Since contextual frames of various kinds presumably converged on the Setswana target texts (TTs), this study proposes an integrated multidisciplinary approach to frame analysis, namely, the cognitive CFR model. The framework, which is embedded in biblical interpretation, merges insights from other disciplines including translation studies, cognitive semantics and cultural studies. The translators‟ decisions are evaluated using the heuristic perspective of "an exegetically justifiable rendering." The study identified indeed countless shifts in the three Setswana translations which resulted from hypothetical socio-cultural, organisational, communicational and textual factors. Moffat‟s shifts revealed a predomination of organisational CFRs throughout the book of Ruth. The organisational CFR also stood out occasionally for Wookey as well. BSSA did not show a predomination of any class of CFRs but manifested the least problematic CFRs. As far as the negative influences of CFRs were concerned, BSSA was the least affected, followed by Wookey and lastly Moffat. The study reveals that it could sometimes be simple, but other times also be difficult or impossible, depending on the pertinent CFR, to provide an exegetically justifiable rendering of an ST unit. Yet, it can be concluded from this study that an awareness of CFRs during translation or analysis of translations can contribute towards the improvement of existing translations or the reduction of problematic shifts in new Bible translation projects.

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